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#IWD2022 CANDIDA IS ON A MISSION TO CHANGE HERSELF AND HER COMMUNITY

Publish Published
2022
English

To celebrate women in the Pacific we're sharing a series of Herstories of women and women's movements who have collectively struggled, lobbied, stood in solidarity and supported each other and survivors of violence against women, and triumphed. This is a story of Candida Kaious a woman leader who is the Project Coordinator of Weto in Mour at the Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI).  

Candida Kaious is Weto in Mour’s (WiM) Program Coordinator. She joined the service, which provides counselling and support to survivors of violence against women and girls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in 2016.

Candida fell into the work by chance, having recently graduated from Marshall Islands College after three years spent teaching primary school . She had gone back to college in the hopes of securing a better paying job to support her young family. Candida initially joined WiM in a part-time role but quickly became passionate about her job – even turning down a better-paying government role as a data entry clerk.

“The more I learned about gender-based violence and gender inequality, and how our culture and beliefs are linked to violence, I then realised there needs to be change. I also realised that I need to change and that I want to give back to the community,” she said.

“That’s what made me stick with this work. Since then, I have changed how I think about gender differences, such as how people think they should behave and dress. It was not easy but I have tried hard have made a breakthrough.”

Candida joined WiM along with four other women, all in their thirties, and together they helped launch the country’s very first counselling service for survivors of violence against women and girls with funding and technical support from the Australian Government. This support continues through Pacific Women Lead, and formerly through Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women).

None of the women had prior knowledge about gender-based violence and the law so there was a steep learning curve. Besides learning on the job, they have benefited from working alongside Marshall Islands women’s rights pioneers like Daisy Alik Momotaro and Marie Maddison at WiM’s parent organisation Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI).

Candida says there are  number of challenges in WiM’s work including the widely held belief that their work was somehow anti-culture, anti-religion and anti-men - stereotypes they continue to work hard to overcome. 

“When the program was new, people were saying that we were going was against our men, that we are trying to destroy our culture and customs. That what we were doing went against the bible. Through training, we’ve learned to provide appropriate culture-based responses.”

She and her fellow caseworkers employ Marshallese sayings that translate to ‘mothers as caretakers’ and ‘men’s need to protect mothers’ alongside contemporary readings of the bible to make the case for greater equality between women and men.

Candida has taken the time to talk about gender with her father, a pastor, and her husband who previously had traditional ideas about men and women’s roles. Today, they’re both proud and supportive of her work.

By leading a team of women her own age, she has acquired leadership skills.

“I’ve learned to be supportive and lead through example,’ she said.

“And not to think we can do everything ourselves. We need others to get things done.”

To young women leaders doing similar work in the region, she says it is worth sticking it out.

‘This work takes a lot of time and learning but don’t give up. Just seeing these women being empowered and free; there’s a wonderful feeling there.’[1]

ENDS

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#IWD2022 CREATING SAFE SPACES FOR WOMEN IN CHUUK IS CRITICAL SAYS ELEANOR

Publish Published
2022
English

To celebrate women in the Pacific we're sharing a series of Herstories of women and women's movements who have collectively struggled, lobbied, stood in solidarity and supported each other and survivors of violence against women, and triumphed. This is a story of Eleanor Mori, a woman leader who is the Coordinator of Tongen Inepwineu Counseling Center (TICC) at the Chuuk Women's Council (CWC). 
 

Eleanor Mori is the Coordinator of Tongen Inepwineu Counseling Center (TICC), the first crisis support centre for women and girls in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Prior to joining TICC, she worked at the Social Affairs Office providing services to elderly and aging citizens. A year into her new job, Eleanor says work at the centre is both challenging and eye-opening.

Seeing women and girls who come into the centre having experienced some form of abuse has fueled her passion for the work.

 ‘‘No child should feel afraid at home,’’ she said, adding: ‘‘A home should be safe. A mother should feel safe. When she is healthy and strong, she can take care of the kids and they grow up to be healthy and strong. When there is no violence in the home that family grows.’’

The establishment of TICC — initiated by the Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC) — has created a safe space where Chuukese women feel they can finally speak up, something that they are typically hesitant to do. Nationwide, one in every three women in FSM experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime.[1]

‘‘Our women didn’t really like to talk about what goes on in their relationships and it has been a process to win their trust. Now, when they see TICC staff in their communities, they are more open and talk to us about anything.’'

 The centre’s work is being taken seriously by authorities.

 Where previously three witness statements were needed in addition to the centre’s case report before making its final way to the Attorney-General’s Office for further processing, now the case report alone is enough to begin the investigation.

This is a significant achievement and support for TICC clients. This means survivors are not additionally or unnecessarily burdened. To aid in its work, TICC has established a network of 35 family champions throughout the main island with plans to recruit more in the outer islands. The champions, both young and old, refer clients to the centre and accompany them to counselling and referral services (such as medical, police or legal services) if needed. The family champions are TICC’s eyes and ears in the community.

The centre has trained health assistants (with access to dispensaries and transport) and plans to link them to family champions.

Eleanor’s vision for TICC’s future was recently achieved with the centre’s expansion to include phone counselling. Next, she hopes the centre may create a separate, dedicated space for greater client privacy, a day care centre and shelter, a gap TICC addresses by developing safety plans with clients, who choose a safe house and host family with TICC providing remote support.

‘‘This stuff doesn’t just happen between the hours of 8 to 5,’’ said Eleanor, adding: ‘‘That’s why we need a safe house where mothers can go for the night and stay longer if they need to.’’

Currently the only shelter that exists in Chuuk belongs to the Human Trafficking Division under the National Police.

 On her leadership style, Eleanor says it is all about ‘‘having mutual respect and faith in one another’’ that the assigned activities will be done.

Between TICC and CWC, there are women aged 20 to 60 and balancing the generation gap while providing space and opportunities for the younger women to flourish has been high on her agenda.

Launched in March 2020, TICC provides free, confidential counselling and referral support to survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and child sexual abuse through trained safe counsellors.

The centre is part of the CWC, which has received funding and extensive on-going technical support from the Australian Government through the Pacific Women Lead formerly known as Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Program. Tongen Inepwineu means ‘Love of the Family’ in Chuukese.

ENDS


[1][ FSM Family Health and Safety Study, 2014, FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs

One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to promote women’s leadership, realise women’s rights, and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.

Australia has committed AUD 170 million to the five-year programme, including through its partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division, women’s funds and other development partners.

HRSD Pacific Women Lead is at the centre of SPC’s regional work for gender equality, serving as secretariat to the Governance Board and providing technical, convening and funding support to government ministries, civil society and other partners.

For more information about the program’s design refer to the SPC HRSD website or the high-level design framework

 

Pacific Women Lead team starts work at Pacific Community (SPC)

Submitted by SRolls on Thu, 24/02/2022 - 08:55
Publish Published
2022
English

Pacific Women Lead has transitioned to the Pacific Community (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) Division. With this transition, Pacific Women Lead is now at the centre of SPC’s regional work on gender equality.  

Several members of the new SPC HRSD Pacific Women Lead team have been recruited from the Support Unit of Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women), which was the region’s former gender equality programme supported by Australia over 10 years.

The new programme’s onboarding of specialist staff from Pacific Women, has ensured continuity of funding and technical support to partners during the transition from the former programme to Pacific Women Lead.

During the transition, there is also a focus on capturing and sharing more than a decade of partners’ experiences from the former programme, to help guide Pacific Women Lead.

This includes the promotion and expansion of a new series of knowledge products garnering lessons learned, experiences, and gender transformative approaches from Pacific Women partners. The lessons learned and good practice contained in the knowledge products aim to guide future gender equality initiatives, including the implementation of Pacific Women Lead. They are available online through the Pacific Data Hub as a result of a dedicated knowledge management process.

This intentional transition approach has been guided by a principle of continuity of critical services. Supporting specialist staff to transition from Pacific Women to Pacific Women Lead has ensured uninterrupted technical and funding support to essential services, including many of the 15 Pacific crisis centre partners supported by the former programme.

As Pacific Women Lead began in 2021, the regional Pacific Women program closed with country-specific support in Papua New Guinea continuing in 2022. Pacific Women connected more than 190 partners and over 180 initiatives across 14 countries, making it one of the largest global commitments to gender equality.

Sharing knowledge  

The series of knowledge products capture and share lessons learned, experiences, and gender transformative approaches from many of its 192 partners over the life of the Pacific Women programme.

The series of knowledge products includes:

 

One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to promote women’s leadership, realise women’s rights, and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.

Australia has committed AUD 170 million to the five-year programme, including through its partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division, women’s funds and other development partners.

HRSD Pacific Women Lead is at the centre of SPC’s regional work for gender equality, serving as secretariat to the Governance Board and providing technical, convening and funding support to government ministries, civil society and other partners.

For more information about the program’s design refer to the SPC HRSD website or the high-level design framework .

 

Country List
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Regional Working Group Documents

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Solomon Islands Access to Justice Pilot project report

East West Center part of the Blue Pacific Alliance under PROJECT Governance

Submitted by Admin on Mon, 27/09/2021 - 15:18
Publish Published
2021
English

About the East-West Center

The East-West Center(link is external) promotes better relations and understanding among the United States, Asia and the Pacific through collaborative study, research, and dialogue. Across Asia and the Pacific Islands, and at our campuses in Honolulu and Washington DC, the Center hosts conferences, exchanges, and in-depth trainings for policymakers, educators, cultural and civil-society leaders, and entrepreneurs. The Center conducts multidisciplinary research on environmental issues, public health, demography, economic policy and geopolitics, and provides graduate degree fellowships for the next generation of leaders. The Center also hosts the Pacific Islands Development Program(link is external)—the focal point of EWC programming for Pacific nations, and the seat of the secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders.

EWC and PROJECT Governance

The East-West Center is proud to join SPC, IFES, and CARE as part of the Blue Pacific Alliance implementing PROJECT Governance. EWC will lead four mutually reinforcing activities focused on supporting financial-governance offices and officials across the region:

For more information about the East-West Center and PROJECT Governance, please contact us at [email protected].

New project to enhance cultural and creative industries in the Pacific

Submitted by Admin on Thu, 29/07/2021 - 11:44
Publish Published
2021
English

A new project aimed at increasing capacity and sustainability of cultural and creative industry initiatives in national economies has been recently launched by the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) – European Union Programme.

The Project titled “Enhancing capacity for the sustainability of Cultural and Creative Industries in the Pacific”(Pacific CCI)  is a 3-year project providing financial support, technical advice, mentoring and capacity building support to artists and cultural producers from the  Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The project is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with financial contribution of the EU and support of the Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

As part of the first phase of the project, an open call for expressions of interest (EOI) was made on June 12 for creatives, artists, cultural producers, local businesses, national culture and art agencies and institutions from the ACP-Pacific region.

According to Dr Frances Vaka’uta, Team Leader Culture for Development from SPC’s Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) Division, the Pacific CCI project seeks to increase the contribution and recognition of the culture and creative sector to economic revenue and commercial engagement in the region through a grant scheme.

“This project recognises that Pacific arts and culture are unique and can make a significant contribution to national economies while developing sustainably to safeguard cultural practices and traditions for future generations and supporting creative innovation” Frances Vaka’uta said.

“So far we have received more than 400 submissions following Phase 1 of the EOI process (which closed on 11 July) from 15 targeted countries including Timor Leste,” she noted.

Frances Vaka’uta also explained that the first set of grantees will be selected specifically based on the grant scheme priorities such as the creation of high-quality goods and services; improved access to national, regional and international markets; increased visual literacy education and improved access to sustainable financing and reduction in dependency on international financing arrangements.

 She added that shortlisted applicants from the EOI process will be taken through information sharing sessions and a grant writing workshop before they submit their formal proposals for the grant scheme.

Associate Professor Verena Thomas, Team Leader of the collaborating team from Queensland University of Technology said that:

"This project is an opportunity to recognise the creative and cultural industries as key drivers for sustainable economies across the Pacific, to create stronger networks and to communicate the creative and cultural knowledge of the Pacific to the world. We are excited about working closely with artists, creative enterprises and institutions to explore our connections, share our experiences and learn from each other."

For more information on the Project, please visit here.

Media Contact:

Kalpana Nizarat, Communications and Visibility Officer, SPC HRSD | E: [email protected]

News Category

Joint Release

Division

Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) Division

Country List
Sixth regional conference of Pacific women: (Noumea, New Caledonia, 2 - 4 May 1994)

Sixth regional conference of Pacific women: (Noumea, New Caledonia, 2 - 4 May 1994)

Anon.
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Anon. 1994. Sixth regional conference of Pacific women: (Noumea, New Caledonia, 2 - 4 May 1994). Noumea: Secretariat of the Pacific Community. 50 p.

Beijing + 15: review of progress in implementing the Beijing platform for action in Pacific Islands countries and territories

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Anon.
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Anon. 2010. Beijing + 15: review of progress in implementing the Beijing platform for action in Pacific Islands countries and territories. Noumea, New Caledonia: Secretariat of the Pacific Community. 144 p.

Changing women, changing communities, changing the Pacific: five decades of SPC's community Education Training Centre

Changing women, changing communities, changing the Pacific: five decades of SPC's community Education Training Centre

Anon.
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Anon. 2013. Changing women, changing communities, changing the Pacific: five decades of SPC's community Education Training Centre. Suva: Secretariat of the Pacific Community. 59 p. + various pagings

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